This is the time of year when so many conversations begin with: “Did you have a nice Christmas?”
I was reading in the newspaper that yesterday is noteworthy as the day when huge numbers of people file for divorce. I wouldn`t wish to make light of such tragic statistics, I only observe the degree of pressure we seem to place on ourselves to have that `ideal` Christmas- and so often it simply doesn`t turn out that way.
On the same day I heard how the alleged perpetrator of a gun crime was quoted as saying that his motivation had something to do with his sense that `life wasn`t turning out as he wanted`. It seems that the pressure is on to have not only the `ideal Christmas` but also the `ideal life`.
So I found myself reflecting on the Christmas Story and what it would be like to ask Mary and Joseph about their experience of Christmas; or their experience of `life` for that matter. For the gospels give us such a rich picture of highs and lows, of joys and sufferings; but the firm conviction is that here is a narrative- here are two lives- in which God is very much present and `working His purpose out`. In other words, life (Christmas) as Mary and Joseph experienced it was far from ideal, far from `the way they wanted it`, I would suppose, and yet it was validated by the presence of (the unspeaking and apparently inactive) Christ. I think it was Gerard Hughes who said something like: `Because God is in them the facts are kind`.
I just take encouragement from this picture of Mary and Joseph- whose lives were far from `ideal` and organized (NB: those of you who have already given up on your New Year`s Resolution). For they teach us that just because life feels a little chaotic it doesn`t mean that life is a `God-free zone`.
Blessings for the New Year